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The Natural History Museum announces Wild Crimes, a new podcast series exploring the illegal wildlife trade

The Natural History Museum is thrilled to announce its new ten-part podcast series, Wild Crimes, launching on Thursday July 1, 2021

A twist on the scintillatingly popular true crime genre, Wild Crimes will explore the shocking and sinister world of the illegal wildlife trade, one of the biggest yet lesser-known criminal trades in the world. 

Every day, all over the world, animals and plants are poached, packaged and traded across countries and continents to satisfy human greed and consumerism. From the ivory trade which pushed elephants to the brink of extinction, to critically endangered eels stuffed into suitcases and caged chameleons at the heart of the exotic pet trade, millions of animals are suffering at the hands of organised, criminal gangs.

Yet it isn’t just animals that fall victim to wildlife crime. With biodiversity loss crashing at an alarming rate and the demands of human consumption ever-increasing, our exploitation of the natural world is escalating the risk of future pandemics and running the planet’s natural resources dry. Meanwhile vulnerable local communities remain at risk of falling foul to these crimes. With few financial alternatives, many turn to the illegal wildlife trade to support their families. 

Join our presenters, evolutionary biologist Dr Tori Herridge and science communicator Dr Khalil Thirlaway as they guide you through this sensational series exploring some of the most lucrative and deadly wildlife crimes in the world today, unpicking their origins, and asking what can be done to stop them.

“When you walk with a pangolin you walk with a unicorn”

Episode one looks at the world’s most trafficked mammal, the pangolin. Pangolins have existed for 50 million years – but could die out in our lifetimes. Hear from researchers from the Museum and experts on the ground in South Africa who dedicate their lives to tracking down the perpetrators and restoring trust to the local communities. Episode two explores reptile trading in Tanzania, a country which has had a ban on all wildlife exports since 2016, yet from which private collectors all over the world buy chameleons, snakes and geckos, keeping them as pets thousands of miles from their natural habitats.

Episodes one and two will be available from Thursday 1 July, episode 3 which focuses on glass eels, will drop one week later on Thursday 8 July. From then one episode will land every Thursday until the end of August. All episodes will be free to listen to via and to download via Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and wherever else you access your podcasts.

Full schedule:

Thursday 1 July:  Episode 1 - Pangolins: the world's most trafficked mammal
Episode 2 - Chameleons: from jungle to pet shop

Thursday 8 July:  
Episode 3 - Europe's biggest wildlife crime: eel smuggling

Thursday 15 July:  Episode 4 - A mammoth task: halting the ivory trade

Thursday 22 July:  Episode 5 - Black market orchids

Thursday 29 July:  Episode 6 - Dinosaur theft: the most expensive fossils in the world

Thursday 5 August: Episode 7: UK wildlife crime: raptor persecution

Thursday 12 August: Episode 8 - Bushmeat crossing borders

Thursday 19 August: Episode 9 - Rhinos, dungbeetles and botflies

Thursday 26 August: Episode 10 - What can we do about wildlife crime?


Notes to editors

Please note that links will not be live until the embargo lifts on Wednesday 16 June, 1700 BST.

Media Pack: Images, trailer and further assets can be accessed here.

Natural History Museum Media and PR team
Tel: +44799690151

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most-visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.

It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.

The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.

The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year; our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.